Understand Our Ground: The Spooks, First Rehearsal

(Photo and post by August Schulenburg. Pictured: Tarantino Smith, Aja Houston, Vernice Miller, Matthew Trumbull, S. Brian Jones, Isaiah Tanenbaum and Kristen Vaughn.)

Things are heating up for Understand Our Ground (RSVP here) — scripts and poems are coming in, plays are being devised, and on Wednesday of this week, we held our first rehearsal for Aja Houston’s contribution, The Spooks, directed by Heather Cohn and featuring S. Brian Jones, Vernice Miller,Tarantino Smith, Isaiah Tanenbaum, Matthew Trumbull and Kristen Vaughn.

We knew that this would be a powerful play ever since Aja brought it into Flux Sunday. However, the first read-through sparked a fascinating discussion about the themes of the play–about the differences between what white and black children are taught about race and violence, and about the commonalities; about what fears and weapons we pass on to our children in the name of protecting them, and how sometimes you simply can’t protect them, and in trying to do so, actually endanger them; about our legacies of racism and white privilege and how early those legacies are passed on, and how deeply wound they are into our family structures–and on the conversation went, mirroring the very dialogue we are hoping to spark on November 6th.

Oh, and did I mention it’s a thrilling, haunting and poetic play, as well? Aja’s really tapped into something powerful here, and I was excited to sit back and watch Heather and these passionate actors begin to bring this vision to life.

So RSVP, and please also fill out our questionnaire about your own recent encounters with the issues that surround the Trayvon Martin/George Zimmerman case–we may use them at Understand Our Ground. 

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